LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The High Occupancy Vehicle, or HOV, lanes will be opened for additional hours to all motorists following a unanimous vote Monday morning by the NDOT Board of Directors.
The hours of operation and enforcement for the HOV lanes were reduced in Oct. 2022 from a 24/7 HOV operation to allow all motorists access to the lanes during hours when they were least used. Those hours will now be extended sometime in the next 30 days.
HOV lanes will operate from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for motorists who have at least one passenger. All motorists will be able to use the HOV lanes from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Currently, all motorists are able to use those lanes from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“If people were changing their behavior and we were reducing vehicles on the roadway through the H-O-V lanes system, I’d be all for it. But that’s not happening,” Nevada Lieutenant Governor and State Transportation Board of Directors Vice Chair Stavros Anthony said after the meeting Monday morning.
The HOV lanes could eventually go away. The board voted in favor of doing a NEPA study, which is required by the federal government, to possibly change the HOV lanes to general-purpose use. The study is expected to take 18 to 24 months.
The Nevada State Police Highway Patrol Division released the following statement to 8 News Now.
“The Nevada State Police Highway Patrol Division prioritizes traffic enforcement activities across the state to maximize the safety of motorists. This includes enforcement efforts directed at HOV lane violations. Following the Transportation Board’s action to adjust HOV lane hours of operation in Southern Nevada, the Division is studying various messaging, deployment, and enforcement options to ensure compliance with the new controls. The Division is working with the Nevada Department of Transportation and will coordinate ongoing efforts to ensure sustained and effective enforcement within the HOV system.” -Nevada State Police Highway Patrol Division Spokesperson
Anthony who spoke of eliminating the HOV lanes during his 2022 campaign said the board was unaware that this study was needed before eliminating the lanes.
“Now we’re in a position to know what the federal government wants because these are technically federal highways,” Anthony said.
Drivers like Robby Davis favor eliminating the HOV lanes and said the incentive of driving in the far left freeway lane is not enough to carpool.
“You would always see people with nobody in the car,” Davis said in Las Vegas Monday morning. “You’re not like, ‘Hey, let’s get three of my neighbors in my car so we can use the HOV lanes,’ that’s not causing people to drive less.”
Violating Nevada’s carpool law could cost a violating driver at least $250 and four demerit points on their driver’s license.